Two opinions in the Mishnah (daf, or page 113) limit the types of meat that cannot be cooked with milk. According toRabbi Akiva, given the emphasis on “a kid” neither fowl nor wild animals are forbidden by the Torah with milk; only domesticated animals are included in the prohibition. Rabbi Yossi ha-Galilee rules that birds are excluded from the prohibition since they are not mammals and cannot be cooked in its mother’s milk.
- Rabbi Yossi ha-Galilee believes that wild animals are included in the Biblical prohibition, while Rabbi Akiva believes they are forbidden only by the Sages.
- Rabbi Akiva believes that both wild animals and fowl are forbidden by the Sages, while Rabbi Yossi ha-Galilee believes that fowl can be cooked with milk – there is no prohibition whatsoever.
To support the second explanation, the Gemara relates the following story:
In the place of Rabbi Yossi ha-Galilee they used to eat fowl’s flesh cooked in milk.
Levi once visited the house of Joseph the fowler, and was served with a peacock’s head cooked in milk and said nothing to them about it.When he came to Rabbi and related this. Rabbi said to him: Why did you not lay them under a ban? He replied. Because it was the place of Rabbi Yehudah ben Beteira and I imagine that he must have expounded to them the view of Rabbi Yossi ha-Galilee who said: a fowl is excluded since it has no mother’s milk.
In his responsa the Rivash writes that we can learn an important lesson from this story. It appears that both Levi and Rabbi had solid traditions that we do not follow Rabbi Yossi ha-Galilee’s ruling and that fowl cannot be cooked with milk. Furthermore, as the leading Rabbinic figures of that generation, had they objected to the practice it is likely that the community would have refrained from cooking fowl with milk. Nevertheless, these Rabbis recognized that the community may have been following a valid – albeit a rejected – position, so they refrained from objection or rebuke. How much more so in our generation, when there are a variety of traditions and oftentimes the proper ruling is not clear, we must be hesitant in our rebuke of others whose traditions do not follow our own.